The original church of the parish of Yarrow was the historic "St Mary's of the Lowes" or the "Forest Kirk", and was built about the twelfth century on the lands of Kirkstead high on the hillside overlooking St Mary's Loch. In 1640, during the stormy days of the National Covenant, the original site was abandoned, and Yarrow Kirk was built in the center of the parish.
In 1772, major reconstruction was required. there was now accommodation for 770 parishioners.
This was the kirk known to Sir Walter Scott and to James Hogg. From his home at Ashiestiel, then within the parish bounds, Scott occasionally rode over the hills to worship in what he called "the shrine of my ancestors", and to to visit the grave of his maternal great-grandfather, John Rutherford, Minister of Yarrow from 1691 to 1710, whose grave is marked by the mural tablet set in the north wall.
In 1826, further improvements took place: the small windows in the south wall were replaced by six large ones, the gables were crow-stepped, and the bell tower enlarged.Doors were added to the pews to restrain the herds' dogs who then accompanied their masters to the kirk.
Walter and Catherine are buried by the obelisk not far from the church doorway.